Huskies’ wideouts changing the culture
Owatonna wide receiver Owen Beyer extends to catch an incoming pass from quarterback Jacob Ginskey in the team’s game against New Prague last week. Beyer hauled in the pass for a 37-yard pass that greatly shifted the momentum in favor of Owatonna. Staff photo by Johnnie Phillips
Huskies’ wide receivers Owen Beyer, Nolan Ginskey and Caleb Hullopeter have been a dream for Owatonna head coach Jeff Williams’ passing attack and an absolute nightmare for opposing defenses this season.
The trio has accounted for five touchdowns and gained 646 yards on 42 receptions to begin 2023, good for just over 15 yards per reception.
“We were going into game one against Hastings thinking we just need to do what we did during seven-on-sevens in the summer. You know, we barely lost in the summer so we just knew that if we could perform the same, we’d be unstoppable. I think that first game we had all the confidence in the world, and we’ve kept it ever since,” said Hullopeter.
The triple-threat trio has not only given defenses more to worry about on Friday nights, but they have also given Williams more freedom as a playcaller.
Owatonna has typically been a run-first team in recent memory, relying upon a strong ground game and possession of the ball to wear out and beat down opposing defenses.
Now, in 2023, the Huskies are showing off a new, more spread-based offense that utilizes motion and misdirection to keep defenses guessing.
Part of Owatonna’s shift in its offensive scheme has been consistent talks amongst the three receivers and Williams during the offseason.
According to Hullopeter, the trio and Williams were in constant communication studying film and analyzing routes and concepts to implement into the offense as the team prepared for the start of the season.
The wideouts’ football knowledge has shown through their dominance on the field and also contributed to their own unique roles in the offense.
According to Ginskey, the junior feels as if his strengths lie in his ability to possess the ball on short, quick routes and make defenders miss in space.
Aiding his ability to get open is his connection with his brother, Jacob, who is the Huskies’ senior starting quarterback.
“My job is to get open quick for Jacob and get the ball in my hands fast to get into space – if I can do that, then I know Jacob will find me. Words can’t even describe how proud I am of him. He’s had ups and downs his entire career, and I’m really happy his senior year is going as well as it has so far. So, knock on wood that it continues because we’ll keep doing our job to help him and this offense succeed,” said Ginskey.
While Ginskey makes his money with quick-hitter plays, Hullopeter typically owns possession down the field with slick route running and a knack for high-pointing the football.
The senior is an explosive player whose football IQ alone is daunting for defensive backs to match up against.
“I’m running more of the downfield routes where I have to beat my guy on a one-on-one, and then Jacob finds me. When I get the ball in space I’m trying to do the same as Nolan where I’m making guys miss or breaking tackles,” said Hullopeter.
Rounding out Owatonna’s three-headed beast is Beyer, who both Ginskey and Hullopeter described in one similar word: explosive.
“I think my strengths are my speed and my blocking, actually. I’m physical because I also play defense, so I know what the defenders are thinking. My goal every time the ball comes to me is to just make a play and spark our offense – really try and bring the momentum,” said Beyer.
Equally as important as the game itself to the Huskies’ wideouts is their friendship off the field.
“A lot of teams have like certain groups within them where it’s like, ‘Oh, these guys are friends and those guys are.’ That’s not really us. I think we do a good job of being just one big group and family. Me, Nolan, Owen and Jacob have all been friends for a long time now, and we’re always together,” said Hullopeter.
Those looking to catch Owatonna’s big three on display next will have to travel to Northfield for the Huskies’ game against the Raiders on Friday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m.